Shameless Japanese government

The United Nations General Assembly First Committee approved two draft resolutions concerning nuclear weapons.

A draft resolution proposed by the nonaligned nations states that the time was now "opportune for all nuclear-weapons states to take effective nuclear disarmament measures with a view to the elimination of all nuclear weapons." It expresses concerns about the danger of nuclear weapons being used in terrorist acts.

The other draft resolution was submitted by Japan. Contrary to its title "A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons," it does not refer to any set time frame for eliminating nuclear weapons.

At U.S. command in everything

The UNGA's adoption of the nonaligned draft resolution shows that the call for nuclear weapons elimination continues to be a major driving power in international politics.

Last year's Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) produced a final document that urged nuclear-weapons states to achieve the total elimination of their own nuclear arsenals. The UNGA in 2000 adopted by an overwhelming majority a resolution that reconfirmed this final document.

In the UNGA First Committee discussion on the two draft proposals, the United States was noticeably opposing total elimination of nuclear weapons and the Japanese government remained faithful to U.S. policy.

Votes in favor of the nonaligned countries' draft resolution came from nonaligned countries and China, and votes against from the nuclear possessing countries of the United States, Britain, and France. Japan, Russia, and Israel abstained.

Japan explained that the call for a set time frame for the elimination of nuclear weapons was the reason for its abstention. The Japanese government said that nuclear disarmament should be a gradual process that involves all nuclear weapons possessing countries. This is how the Japanese government is opposed to the elimination of nuclear weapons within a set time frame and is virtually shelving the task indefinitely.

This position is in common with the draft resolution which the Japanese government proposed.

Last year's draft resolution proposed by the Japanese government stated that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) should come into effect by 2003. To ingratiate itself with the U.S. Bush administration which is objecting to the CTBT, the Japanese government deleted the statement from its draft.

The U.S. Bush administration opposed such a lukewarm resolution proposed by Japan because it wants to obtain absolute nuclear supremacy with a missile defense system combined with nuclear weapons, and to make the CTBT a dead letter.

In the NPT Review Conference, nonaligned countries and the New Agenda Coalition -- a group of countries calling for nuclear weapons elimination, criticized the "ultimate elimination" argument that puts the elimination of nuclear weapons on the back burner. This criticism drove nuclear weapons states into pledging for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Seeing that the "ultimate nuclear weapons elimination" argument was rejected, the Japanese government rehashed the failed draft and proposed it as a progressive and realistic approach towards nuclear weapons elimination.

It stands to reason that the New Agenda Coalition did not support the draft resolution proposed by the Japanese government, whose sole and top concern is to ingratiate itself with the U.S. Bush administration, acting contrary to public opinion at home and abroad that calls for nuclear weapons to be eliminated and nuclear tests to be completely banned.

Nuclear weapons elimination more urgent than ever

As the approved draft resolution proposed by non-aligned countries points out, the recent political situation under the threat of international terrorism makes the task of eliminating nuclear weapons more urgent than ever.

It goes without saying that nuclear weapons should not make their way into the hands of terrorist forces. To this effect, it is necessary for nuclear weapons countries to start eliminating nuclear weapons within a set time frame as pledged in the NPT Review Conference final document.

It is a shame that the Koizumi Cabinet is acting as a vassal to the U.S. Bush administration's persistence in maintaining nuclear weapons. By so doing, the government of the only atom-bombed country has turned its back on the Japanese people who have long called for nuclear weapons to be eliminated. (end)